The Rise of the Remaster: Classic Games

The Rise of the Remaster: Classic Games

Nostalgia sells. We are constantly throwing money at the idea of trying to relive those precious magical memories from our childhood - from a time where we were innocent and devoid of adult burdens. So it’s no surprise that nostalgia is everywhere at the moment: in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy 2; the return of kid’s shows like The Smurfs and Voltron; the adult-horror 80’s-themed Netflix hit Stranger Things; and can you believe that Teddy Ruxpin will be back in 2017?

It makes sense from a marketing point of view. The key target demographic looking for nostalgic experiences are those in their 30’s. An audience who have a decent amount of disposable income, or if they don’t, it’s probably because they have kids. But being a parent myself, I constantly find myself pushing my own childhood joys onto my kids (my four year olds know the names of the original Generation One Transformers for instance).

From a different angle, a lot of the creative forces behind movies and television (like James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and Phil Lord) are in that same age demographic too, and they’re making things that they once loved as a child.

Games are no exception. We’re seeing an increasing number of classics from back in the day being re-created and brought to life on modern consoles. But remastering a beloved game isn’t easy. It’s the fine balance of trying to capture what made the experience so memorable to begin with, while considering a whole new generation of players and adapting to the expectations of the modern gaming world.

Here are our recommended remastered classic games for anyone old enough to remember Garbage Pail Kids, plus some upcoming ones to look out for this year:

Grim Fandango Remastered

From the genius mind of Tim Schafer, this remaster of a cult classic takes us back to the golden days of gaming, when PC adventure games were all the rage thanks to the studio LucasArts. It was a genre renowned for challenging puzzles, and the re-release of Grim Fandango doesn’t attempt to hold your hand. Unlike many modern games, it doesn’t give you a tutorial or any hints, often resulting in hours of brain-taxing frustration. But we do have the one thing that wasn’t around 17 years ago - the magical Internet. Finding a walkthrough online removes a lot of the second-guessing, and allows you to just enjoy the cinematic story.

Full Throttle Remastered

Another recent remaster from Tim Schafer’s impressive back catalogue. This PC and PS4 port revisits the 1995 classic, putting you in the steel-capped boots of Ben Throttle -- the tough-as-nails leader of biker gang the Polecats who gets caught up in a tale of motorcycles, mayhem, and even murder. Again, its questionable “adventure game logic” might deter younger players, but for others there’s no better time to hit the open road thanks to this beautifully executed port.

Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition

One of the most stunning video game experiences I’ve ever played. The art direction in Another World was cutting edge, created by visionary game designer Eric Chahi. It was one of the first games to not feature any form of heads-up display, and to present the gameplay in a tight letterbox frame, giving it a distinct cinematic feel. The use of clever angles and layering for depth, combined with a slick, minimal cel-shaded style, makes Another World a perfect candidate for an HD remaster. The game is exactly how I remembered it, action-packed and beautifully captivating and -- apart from a higher price tag than expected -- is still worth checking out.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap

This game is basically the reason I’m writing this article in the first place. The Dragon’s Trap, released just last month, and it perfectly encapsulates everything that a remaster should. The 8-bit graphics of 1989 have been lovingly recrafted into gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations which give the game a whole new appeal. The developers have been considerate enough to maintain the original graphics too, and players can seamlessly switch between the two drastically different art styles at the press of a button. Even the soundtrack, which has also been radically updated, can be toggled in-game.

It’s amazing how they have managed to make a 28-year old game feel modern. It’s not just through visuals either, but through taking the original engine and adapting it to modern day controllers - reducing the amount of lag and making things more responsive. It’s a classic game that everyone should play, whether you remember the original or not.


There’s more to come as well - here are some upcoming re-releases of some classic games from back in the day:


An Amiga classic, Constructor was basically a crude, Cockney-themed Sim City game where players had to manage a small town by building housing, industrial zones, police, and monitor the environment. It was unique mainly due to its humorous approach; it never got bogged down by the serious details of Sim City. Instead you had to contend with groups of thugs, hippies, or overweight unemployed idiots with too many children. Imagine trying to control the lives of the cast of the Jeremy Kyle show. It was a lot of fun, and it is scheduled to arrive on the PS4 at the end of May. I honestly thought I was the only one who had ever played this game until now.

Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy

A PlayStation classic for many, this long-awaited collection of remasters combines the first three titles in the Crash Bandicoot series: Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped, which were all originally developed by Naughty Dog for the first PlayStation. It marks the 20th anniversary of the first game and is scheduled to arrive on the PS4 on the 30th June this year.

Micro Machines World Series

This table-top racer featuring pint-sized toy cars came out way back in 1991 on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and even appeared on the monochromatic Gameboy. Amazingly, the original publishers Codemasters are still around today, and are bringing Micro Machines back on the PS4 and PC this June. Household racing environments such as the breakfast table, or children’s bedroom are all upgraded with stunning HD visuals, and the game will also include all new combat-orientated modes.

What games do you have a fond memory for which you think should be remastered? Who remembers the gory knight fighting Moonstone; the isometric helicopter shooter Desert Strike; or the top-down army arcade classic Cannon Fodder? Let us know via the comments below!


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Comments Comments (12)

Posted by dsinnz
On Thursday 18 May 2017 11:11 AM
Rumours around Spyro remastered? I'm hope for curse of monkey island too.
Posted by robmacd1
On Thursday 18 May 2017 3:41 PM
Forget remastering and making us buy it again, just crack open the backwards compatibility and let us get all the old games back out of the box in the back of the wardrobe that we already brought 10 years ago
Posted by robmacd1
On Thursday 18 May 2017 3:43 PM
Not to mention that wasting time on remastering old games takes the focus away from creating newer better games
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Thursday 18 May 2017 6:00 PM
I like the remastered stuff but I think Publishers could be more selective on the titles as there have been way to many in the last 2 years, and alot of those are games from the last 1-2 gens.
Id like to see more of the old ones just like Wonder Boy you have above, ones back from Sega Master System, NES/SNES etc days, esp because looked after hardware or the games are hard to find now.
I like the remastered versions because sometimes going back to the original is horrible, so many times Ive tried the old games and found it hard to even look at (though it looked awesome back then), or how bad the animations are, or how clunky the controls are... and its all sort of spoiled the nostalgia for me, hence why I dont go back to old games anymore, because of that fear of ruining my nostalgia on a particular game.
Posted by Chris Redfield
On Thursday 18 May 2017 8:43 PM
Holy f**k there's gonna be a Micro Machines remake?
Posted by chinaman71
On Friday 19 May 2017 8:12 AM
They need CTR and Crash bash remastered too
Posted by Blackfox
On Friday 19 May 2017 9:03 AM
I'm not a fan of these of remasters, i'm buying nostalgia with a fresh coat of paint. Its probably gonna keep coming if people keep asking for it, or it may die down. the latest trend now is to release a remaster to add hype for a spin off or sequel, a step back with a step forward.
Posted by kniteowl
On Friday 19 May 2017 11:26 AM
Wait... Constructor?!? That's so awesome! It's like a tycoon sim with some off the wall sarcastic humour from what I remember. Got to look into the remake now.
Posted by Booker_T_SUCKAAA
On Friday 19 May 2017 5:11 PM
I like how I can show my young boys the games that I was bought up on, Wonder Boy 3 (PS4), Alex Kidd, Sonic The Hedgehog (PS3), Crash (PS3/ PS4). It's a pity that the PS3 games I've already bought through the PSN don't work on the PS4. But since I'm late to the PS4 party, I'm sure that's been discussed here before in length.

I love how my 5 year loves playing Wonder Boy. His sword fights (real life) are now using his 'Lucky' or 'Legendary' sword :-)
Posted by Stazman
On Tuesday 23 May 2017 7:36 AM
I've been down nostalgia alley recently with Grim Fandango and it's every bit as good as I remembered it. How about a remake of The Bitmap Brothers' platform classic Magic Pockets? Failing that, a decent update to the original SSX wouldn't go amiss......
Posted by siamese
On Tuesday 23 May 2017 8:29 AM
23 May 2017, 07:36 AM Reply to Stazman
I've been down nostalgia alley recently with Grim Fandango and it's every bit as good as I remembered it. How about a remake of The Bitmap Brothers' platform classic Magic Pockets? Failing that, a decent update to the original SSX wouldn't go amiss......
The Bitmap Brothers studio released some great games. Speedball, Gods and The Chaos Engine were my faves.
Posted by zarr0ch
On Wednesday 24 May 2017 8:34 AM
Bring back Legacy of Kain